Photo by Michael Burns/ISIphotos.com
By MIKE DONOVAN
Once in the thick of the Western Conference race, the Whitecaps now find themselves on the outside looking in. With four matches remaining, the club is in seventh place, four points behind the final playoff spot. Vancouver is also coming off a 1-0 home defeat against an RSL side that left many regulars at home due to its U.S. Open Cup finals match.
Captain Jay DeMerit, who recently returned from injury, believes that consistent effort and execution has been the club’s biggest problem in recent matches.
“All I can speak for is this team, and this team needs to get better as far as being accountable for our performances.” DeMerit told the Province. “Guys can show up on certain days and give a nine-out-of-10 performance, but it doesn’t really mean anything when the next time they give a three-out-of-10 performance.”
Next up for Vancouver is a Sunday night clash at home against the Portland Timbers.
Here are more of this week’s notes from around the Western Conference:
Despite being a U.S. Men’s National Team regular for many years, Chivas USA defender Carlos Bocanegra has not received a national team call-up since February. The 34-year-old, who has 110 caps for the U.S., is currently in his first season with the Goats.
“It is what it is. At the beginning, the first few games that you watch, it was really, really hard. And it’s still hard to wish you were out there” Bocanegra told the LA Times. “But you can’t just sit here and dwell on things. You’ve got to move forward and make the best of every situation. I’m just trying to do that here.”
While the Rapids were forced to play multiple rookies and inexperienced players during the first few months of the 2013 season due to injuries, Colorado now has the luxury of having depth at most positions. Despite this, Oscar Pareja has decided to stick with many of the young players that have put the club into their playoff-contending position.
“You cannot exclude them from the responsibility that they have at the moment. These are the games that let them grow. You know that I always take the risk,” Pareja told the club’s website. “For me, the results are important in this business, and results will keep us with the job or not. But if I want to take a risk for the young ones and give them the opportunity to grow and sacrifice the result, that’s me. They need to step up now as well.”
Homegrown player Danny Garcia scored his second reserve league goal of the season in the club’s 3-1 reserve league loss to the Columbus Crew reserves Monday. The Dallas reserves had a three-game winning streak snapped despite having the likes of Kenny Cooper, Peter Luccin, and Jair Benitez in the lineup.
LOS ANGELES GALAXY
On Tuesday, Robbie Rogers took part in training for just the second time since being sidelined with a hamstring injury on Aug. 20th. Since being acquired by the Galaxy for Mike Magee in May, the former U.S. International has played in nine league matches for the club.
“I’m happy that I play here (with the Galaxy) and that I have my family here to support me,” Rogers told his club’s website. “I love doing this, I feel like I’ve immersed myself in the team and I love being able to train here. It’s frustrating (not being able to play), but it’s part of sports.”
While Rogers doesn’t expect to play in Sunday’s match with Chivas USA, he is hoping to be healthy in time for the Galaxy’s match with the Montreal Impact on Oct. 16th.
Prior to playing the Colorado Rapids two weeks ago, Timbers head coach Caleb Porter decided to make some changes to his starting lineup. Those changes have paid off with a pair of 1-0 victories over against Western Conference opponents. As the final month of the regular season begins, Porter does not expect to make many more tactical lineup changes.
“If you’re changing your lineup a lot at this time of year, it means you’re scrambling,” Porter told the Oregonian. “It means there’s something wrong.”
REAL SALT LAKE
RSL’s 1-0 loss in Tuesday night’s U.S. Open Cup final marked the third time since 2008 that the club was shut out at home during a cup final or postseason match. The loss joins the club’s defeats in the 2008 Western Conference Final to RBNY and in the 2011 CONCACAF Champions League Final to Monterrey as noteworthy matches where RSL failed to score at home.
“You scratch your head,” RSL head coach Jason Kreis told the Salt Lake Tribune. “We did everything necessary to get to the point where we should have goal-scoring chances and we just seem like every single time … it just wasn’t going to happen.”
SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES
When the Earthquakes take on the Colorado Rapids on Oct. 9th, they will be missing two players as Marvin Chavez and Victor Bernardez have been called up by Honduras for their upcoming World Cup qualifying matches. While Chavez has been passed on San Jose’s depth chart by Cordell Cato, the loss of Bernardez could be a major blow to the Quakes.
In five of the club’s last six losses, Bernardez has been unavailable for San Jose due to international duty with Honduras.
Adam Moffat made his home debut for the Sounders in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls, three weeks after being traded from the Houston Dynamo. It was Moffat’s second league appearance for Seattle, who are currently tied at the top of the Western Conference with Real Salt Lake.
“It’s nice to have all those people rooting for you rather than rooting against you,” Moffat told the club’s website. “It was good to get out there, but I would rather win the game.”